Dr. Shihaan M. Lariff
The name refers to a pair of Art Deco Pearl, Ruby and Diamond Ear Pendants designed by Cartier in the year 1935, in the Indian style, with openwork circular discs and arched surmounts mounted with diamonds and rubies and fringes of pearls and rubies. The dangling long ear pendants, characteristic of the Art Deco period was 7 cm long. The pair of antique ear pendants made a significant impact at the Christie's "Jewels : The Geneva Sale" held on May 12, 2010, when it realized a price of CHF 87,000 (US$ 78,526), which was 1.3 times the upper pre-sale estimate of CHF 65,000 (US$ 58,659) and almost twice the lower pre-sale estimate of CHF 45,000 (US$ 40,610). The strong showing of the antique pair of ear pendants, was a clear indication of the revival of the strong auction market for pieces of jewelry incorporating diamonds and natural pearls, after the poor performance of such pieces at auctions, barely an year ago at the height of the global economic recession.
Pair of Art Deco Pearl, Ruby and Diamond Ear Pendants designed by Cartier in the Indian style
The centerpiece of the antique pair of ear pendants designed in the Indian style, is the openwork diamond and ruby set circular disc, made of platinum and mounted with diamonds and rubies. The center of the disc is mounted with a large circular-cut diamond, surrounded by 8 other smaller circular-cut diamonds, which in turn is surrounded by two concentric bands, also mounted with circular-cut diamonds, interrupted by 4 kite-shaped, collet-set (bezel-set) rubies, placed at the four cardinal points of the circles. The kite-shaped, bezel-set rubies cut the two circles into four segments, each segment mounted with 5 circular-cut diamonds. The diamonds in the outer circle are slightly larger than the diamonds in the inner circle. From the bottom of the platinum frame of the outer circle, arise five rings or loops, the points at which the ruby and pearl fringes are suspended. One ring is placed exactly along the median vertical diameter of the circles, and two rings each are placed on either side of it, equidistant from the median ring. Thus, there is a median fringe and two fringes on either side of it, equidistant from the median. Each fringe is made up of a collet-set (bezel-set), kite-shaped ruby and a single spherical or near-spherical, silvery-white, natural pearl. The fringes are of equal length, but due to the curvature of the outer, circular, diamond-mounted band, the bottom of fringes come to lie on a V-shaped line.
Above the circular disc are two stylized arched surmounts, also mounted with circular-cut diamonds, numbering 11 in the lower arch and 9 in the upper arch. The pivot for the dangling earrings are chain- links or loop-links, one situated just above the lower arch and the other above the upper arch. The stylized immovable top of the two ear-pendants are somewhat kite-shaped and set with 5 circular-cut diamonds and a single lower collet-set, kite-shaped ruby.
The pieces signed by Cartier, Paris, carry French assay marks for platinum, and has a length of 7 cm each.
The 10 pearls used in the ruby and pearl fringes of the ear pendants are natural saltwater pearls. They are medium sized pearls that appear to be around 5 mm in diameter, and fall within the range in size of natural pearls produced by the oyster species Pinctada radiata, the oriental pearl oyster. The shape of the pearls appear to be spherical at a glance, but a closer examination shows that some are near-spherical and button-shaped. The color of the pearls are silvery-white, a common color of pearls produced by Pinctada radiata. The luster and orient of the pearls are in keeping with their saltwater origins, and optimum for natural saltwater pearls. The surface quality of the pearls are also exceptional and appear to be blemish-free.
Though the ear pendants were designed in 1935, during the Art Deco period, and exhibit distinct Indian motifs, the use of materials, cuts and settings may show Art Deco influences. Some of the Art Deco features seen on the ear pendants are the following :-
1) The long dangling ear pendant itself is an Art Deco feature, as such long earrings became very popular during this period.
2) The use of platinum as the metal in the ear pendants is also an Art Deco feature, as the two common metals used in jewelry crafting during this period were platinum and its cheaper substitute, white gold, an alloy that was first introduced in jewelry making in the early Art Deco period, in the 1920s.
3) The use of white diamonds and pearls on platinum, commonly known as the white on white color scheme, was popular during the Edwardian period (1901-1915), also known as the Belle Epoque (beautiful times) period. During the Art Deco period (1920-1940), such soft color schemes were gradually replaced by bolder color combinations, culminating in the "fruit salad" look, imparted by colored stones, such as sapphires (blue and yellow), emeralds (green) and rubies (red). The predominant usage of white diamonds and pearls in the pair of ear pendants, accented by red rubies is a distinct Art Deco feature. The use of red rubies on a predominantly white motif, is an indicator that tells apart the Art Deco period, from the preceding Belle Epoque period, in which the prominent feature was the white on white scheme.
4) The use of kite-shaped cut rubies and square-cut rubies is also an Art Deco feature, as such square-cuts for diamonds and colored stones were first developed in Paris, during this period, and came to be known as the "French-cut.'
5) Most of the diamonds used on the ear pendants are circular-cut diamonds. However, from a photograph it is difficult to say what type of circular-cut has been employed. If among these circular-cut diamonds, there are modern brilliant-cut diamonds, they may also become a source of evidence for the Art Deco origin of the ear pendants, as the modern brilliant-cut was first introduced by Gabi Tolkovsky in 1919, at the onset of the Art Deco period.
Bezel setting was one of the earliest methods of setting gemstones into jewelry. A bezel is a groove or seat, either carved out or soldered onto the surface of the piece of jewelry, to accommodate a gemstone. The size and shape of the bezel should correspond to the size and shape of the gemstone it is going to accommodate. A bezel has a flange or projecting lip, usually right round its edges at the top, but sometimes only partially. The gemstone is placed inside the bezel and the flange is pressed down over the edges of the stone, firmly locking it into place. The gemstone can either be a faceted stone or cabochon-cut stone. When the setting is complete a slightly elevated metal rim or collar surrounds the stone completely or partially. Some of the advantages of bezel setting are as follows :-
1) Bezel setting is the safest of all settings, as it secures the gemstone firmly, minimizing the chances of the gemstone getting dislodged, and an ideal setting for people with active life styles.
2) It protects the edges of the gemstone from chipping off, and also from accidental rubbing or scratching
3) A bezel setting can hide existing chips on a diamond or other gemstone.
4) Bezel setting imparts a more elegant look to some types of jewelry like rings, and makes a gemstone look larger.
5) Bezel setting in yellow gold can enhance the red color of rubies and green color of emeralds. However, bezel setting in yellow gold is not suitable for diamonds, as it can cause white diamonds to appear less white, when the yellow color of the bezel is reflected into the diamond. For diamonds the ideal bezel setting would be in platinum, white gold or silver, all white metals that would enhance, the white color of diamonds.
Collet setting is a variation of the bezel setting. The collet setting is similar in appearance to the bezel setting, but involves the use of gold tubing. In a collet setting, the collet usually goes right round the gemstone, unlike a bezel setting that can be either total or partial.
In the collet setting of kite-shaped, step-cut rubies in the Cartier's Pair of Art Deco Pearl, Ruby and Diamond Ear Pendants, the collets appear to be made of yellow gold, to enhance the red color of the rubies, and go right round the gemstones, keeping the gemstone securely within its framework. In the ruby collets of the fringes, the front and rear side of the rubies are exposed allowing the free entry of light form both sides of the gemstones. Such a setting is known as "open-backed."
Cartier's Pair of Art Deco Pearl, Ruby and Diamond Ear Pendants was lot no. 69 at the Christie's "Jewels : The Geneva Sale" held on May 12, 2010, at the Geneva Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues. The lot was accompanied by a certificate of authenticity bearing no.GE2009-163, dated October 20, 2009, issued by Cartier, certifying that the pair of earrings were a genuine Cartier product, designed by Cartier Paris in 1935. A pre-sale estimate of CHF 45,000 - 65,000 (US$ 40,610-58,659)was placed on the lot. However, the lot sold for a much enhanced price of CHF 87,000 (US$ 78,526), which was US$ 19,867 more than the upper pre-sale estimate, and US$ 37,916 higher than the lower pre-sale estimate. The enhanced price realized was in keeping with the trend shown at the auctions, that showed the revival of the strong auction market for pieces of antique jewelry incorporating natural pearls and diamonds.
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1) Christie's "Jewels : The Geneva Sale " 1374, May 12, 2010. Lot No.69 - A Pair of Art Deco Pearl, Ruby and Diamond Ear Pendants, by Cartier.
1) Christie's "Jewels : The Geneva Sale" 1374, May 12, 2010. Lot No.69 - A Pair of Art Deco Pearl, Ruby and Diamond Ear Pendants, by Cartier.
2) 200 Years of Jewelry - Bijoux inspired jewels. www.bijouxjewels.com
3) Art Deco - from the Antique Jewelry University. www.langantiques.com
4) Bezel Setting Definition - www.about.com
5) Bezel Setting - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
6) Choosing Your Ring Setting - www.thejewelryhut.com
Dr Shihaan Larif
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